Friday, April 22, 2016

A Tour through Psalm 119: Waw

Posted by Lisa Laree to Beer Lahai Roi
This week's Hebrew letter is rendered as 'waw' in the NIV and 'vau' in King James, and it begins each of the verses 41 - 48 in the Hebrew text.
Here's the passage from my old friend the NIV 84:
May your unfailing love come to me, O Lord,  your salvation according to your promise;
Then I will answer the one who taunts me, for I trust in your word.
Do not snatch the word of truth from my mouth, for I have put my hope in your laws.
I will always obey your law, for ever and ever.
I will walk about in freedom, for I have sought out your precepts.
I will speak of your statues before kings and will not be put to shame,
For I delight in your commands because I love them.
I lift up my hands to your commands, which I love, and I meditate on your decrees.

Just mulling over this, I see the psalmist pondering, studying, and delighting in God's word, laws and promises in his personal devotional life, but he also is not hesitant to declare that word in front of folks who mock him and those who have authority...and he trusts that God will back up his word so that he is not put to shame.

Let's see how my 'tediously rendered paraphrase' filters through from the Hebrew dictionaries.

Your goodness, kindness and faithfulness do come upon me, Yahweh, your salvation, your word--
Speech to answer to [one who] reproaches me; as [I] am confident in your word.
[I] have waited for your judgements; do not strip away the firmness of your word completely out of my mouth.
So [I] will guard your instruction forever for ever,
And [I] shall walk about in the broad[ness], indeed to seek with care your precepts.
And [I] shall speak of your testimonies in front of kings, not ashamed.
Delighting myself in your commandments, which I have loved.
Meditating upon your statutes and lifting up my two hands to your commandments, which I have loved.

(And folks tell us English is a complicated language...)

Do you just get the feeling that the Psalmist is taking in God's instruction as if it were his life's breath? Delighting, meditating...other words in the dictionary were pondering, studying, watching over...  the firmness of your word in my mouth... He's asking God to not shake his confidence, his conviction that the word will do what it says it will do.  With that confidence, there's nothing that can restrict him or intimidate him...

How firm is God's word in my mouth?

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